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'Top Chef' finale: Chatting, partying, Tweeting

Tonight's the night, "Top Chef: Las Vegas" fans: Your finale, where the Brothers Voltaggio (BroVo East and BroVo West, in my Twitter nicknaming parlance) will go up against each other and Atlanta chef Kevin Gillespie (aka Friar Scruffy) in the hopes of winning the $125,000 prize, along with, of course, the title.

We've had strong representation from DC on this year's show, what with Bryan Voltaggio of Volt, his brother Michael Voltaggio of the Dining Room at the Langham in Pasadena, and Mike Isabella of Zaytinya. So tonight's finale in Napa Valley is all the more exciting, especially since the sibling rivalry has carried all the way through to the (hopefully not too bitter) end.

Let me interrupt this blog post to take a quick look at the scorecard for the three finalists. Here's how many times each of them has won an elimination challenge; been in the top group at the judge's table but not won; been safe (in neither the top nor bottom); or been in the bottom group but not eliminated:

Bryan: 4 wins, 4 top, 5 safe, 0 bottom.
Kevin: 5 wins, 3 top, 4 safe, 1 bottom.
Michael: 3 wins, 6 top, 3 safe, 1 bottom.

Those numbers would seem to put Bryan and Kevin within spitting distance of each other, with Michael in third place. Las Vegas Weekly, no stranger to odds-making, points out here that in the last three three out of the last five seasons, the winner of the very first elimination challenge went on to take the title. This year, that was Kevin.

Even though it's had its slow moments, I've been as obsessed as ever with the show this season, especially now that I'm live-Tweeting my heart out with some other snarky souls out there (@TheStew, @culinarypirate and @lillyj, I'm talking about you, naturally). As we come to the finale, I'm rooting for Bryan, the hometown boy and the only one of the finalists I've met. Tonight I'll be on the scene in Frederick at Volt, Bryan's restaurant, where a huge viewing (will it be victory?) party is taking shape, and will do my darndest to Tweet from there (and file something for the Style section tomorrow).

In the meantime, you have another chance to put your questions directly to top-cheftestants at 1 p.m. today, when BroVo themselves log on for a live chat with readers. We didn't want to divide up our live-chatting audience, so we graciously moved our own Free Range chat from the Food section to a special time of 2 p.m. Consider it a bonus: Come for BroVo, stay for cookies!

Then, tonight, in addition to following me on Twitter or seeing my Tweets in this space below, you can also join Bravo's Virtual Viewing Party. Looks like Bryan himself is going to be Tweeting tonight. But wait a minute; I'm also eating dinner there -- can he cook, watch and Tweet at the same time? Now that's a challenge worthy of a potential Top Chef.

-- Joe Yonan

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By Joe Yonan  |  December 9, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Television  | Tags: Joe Yonan, Top Chef, Twitter  
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Next: Bonus recipe: Spicy Cucumber Margarita


Actually, last year the winner of the first elimination challenge was Stefan and he was not the ultimate Top Chef winner (that honor went, in my opinion undeservedly, to Hosea.

Posted by: tdsjrw | December 9, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

My mistake -- I misread the LV Weekly statement. Thanks for correcting: I fixed it above. They said it was in three of the last five seasons, not the last three seasons. I agree with you on Hosea.

Posted by: Joe Yonan | December 10, 2009 7:21 PM | Report abuse

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